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Surviving Outsourcing? 234

Posted by kdawson
from the frying-pans-and-fires dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As some of you may know, HP is negotiating with DPWN, parent company of DHL, to take on outsourced parts of DPWN's global IT Services business unit. As a worker in that business unit, I and my colleagues are part of what HP is negotiating for. I moved into my current position fresh out of university and so far haven't experienced corporate shake-ups or outsourcing initiatives. I enjoy my work and the opportunities that go with it, which is why this announcement was so distressing to me at first. Then I began hearing about the opportunities HP has internally. If you've been through a similar experience, what advice would you give for someone being outsourced? Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?"
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Surviving Outsourcing?

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  • Why not try it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by F'Nok (226987) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:41AM (#24113973)

    It's always a good idea to have the CV up to date, but I don't see why you shouldn't ride the wave for a while until you can determine just how good the surf is.

    If you don't like them, you can always leave then.

    • by kubitus (927806) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:05AM (#24114101)
      You get an opportunity there! Write down the differences of both. Learn as much as you can. Take good old common sense to see what was good in the one and whats good in the other place. And also note what was bad in the old and what is bad in the new place. Then after some time look at your CV, add your new experience and rethink if you are better off at a different place.
    • Re:Why not try it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:21AM (#24114173)

      Just what I was thinking - do both!

      I went through something similar a couple of times within a few months a little while ago. First time round I got a lot of reassuring "we want your expertise" noises, then a payoff and a goodbye. Then I got a new job at a small company and it happened again.

      Second time it was another big company (let's call them "large indigo") and we had all the same talks and speeches and the same reassurances, only they actually meant it. Unfortunately it's very hard to tell this. Anyway,I'm still with them and am not only very happy (and in the same job) but it's kinda cool having the opportunity to move around the company and the world once you're on the inside.

      So, YMMV, but don't be too pessimistic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Listen to Nursie, buddy. Do both FTW! Unless they keep paying you through a downturn, you're employer isn't thinking in terms of loyalty to you, so don't get emotionally attached to a job (not in this industry at least).

        Stay flexible, market yourself and always keep an eye on the door (to see who's coming in and going out).

        Good luck. This kind of experience can be really stressful, so this is a good time to learn to relax and take care of yourself.

      • Who stole my cheese! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:27AM (#24117173) Journal
        "Large indigo" assimilation is all fun and ballons until one day when you find yourself sitting in a packed theater watching the "who stole my cheese" video.

        In reality nobody can expect a life-long career based on one industry, let alone one employer. For example, I started my full time working life in 1976 as HS drop-out pumping petrol - driveway service went extinct a long time ago where I live. In my early 20's I had a wife and kid and I worked/lived at an old growth sawmill in the middle of nowhere for a year or so - the forestry lease ran out in 1984 and the area is now a national park. Worked on scallop trawlers (fishing) for a year or so - few boats left after the govt. bought back licenses to stop overfishing and protect fish breeding grounds. Worked shift work in a nylon spinning plant in the late 80's - govt signed a treaty and phased out the corporate welfare (tarrifs). Been a well paid geek since ~92-93, whodathunk it?!?

        I'm 49, not counting jobs
        BTW: I agree a big diverse employer can offer a great deal in the way of internal opportunity.
    • Re:Why not try it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by VdG (633317) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:27AM (#24114215)

      This would seem to be the obvious thing to do.

      I got outsourced a couple of years ago, (not to HP) and I couldn't say it's any better or worse than it was before. I do have the advantage of UK employment law on my side, which in theory ensures I remain on cmparable terms and conditions. I ended up with a poorer pension scheme but a higher salary to make up for it, and a few minor changes in other benefits - mostly good.

      Not everybody stayed on, but most people did. One guy left, then got re-hired because he was too valuable to lose. Most of us are doing pretty much the same job as we were before, although those in leadership roles probably have more responsibility than they did before.

      In theory there are more opportunities for me. A lot of that is going to depend on me seeking them out. At the least, I shall end up doing work for other customers besides my original employer which gives me exposure to different ways of doing things.

      In my limited experience - I got sort-of outsourced once before: massive reorganization which involved setting up a new company to handle IT for the whole group - it needn't be bad for you. I certainly think that some of the other posters are being needlessly alarmist and cynical. Go with it, and try to be involved in the changes.

    • Re:Why not try it? (Score:4, Informative)

      by supremebob (574732) <themejunky@geoc i t ies.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:08AM (#24114837) Journal

      Yeah... I wouldn't worry about finding a new job quite yet. As someone who's currently in the middle of an IT outsourcing to HP, I noticed that most folks have at least six months after the official announcement before they start laying people off.

      That said, I wouldn't put too much faith in finding something on the HP internal job board. You'll soon have tens of thousands of EDS employees looking at those jobs as well.

      • As someone who's currently in the middle of an IT outsourcing to HP, I noticed that most folks have at least six months after the official announcement before they start laying people off.

        Well at least you won't be lonely if you're all suddenly looking for a job at the same time!

    • Re:Why not try it? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@l ... t ['per' in gap]> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:29AM (#24115071) Homepage

      Until you've personally proven yourself to a management chain that's proved itself all the way up to the CEO, be ready to be fired at any time.

      That means have your resume ready, credit cards paid off, and a savings account. If you can't go six months without any income, just start looking for a job right now.

      If you're one of those guys that "does everything" but really has a nebulous job that no one can define, be ready to be fired soon. I've been through three of these things and survived them all, but by God at times I wished they would just fire me and get it over with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As someone who was bought out by HP in the past year here's some personal insight.

      Every process inside HP is purposely filled with so much red tape it's designed to make you want to quit and not do it. Example buying a piece of software from a vendor, it takes 3+ months and 14+ sign offs, plus like 5 forms that need to be filled out. Someone in legal said this was on purpose to discourage people spending company money.

      Internal IT support for anything? Get ready to spend 90+ minutes on hold to a call center

  • From my experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jskline (301574) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:42AM (#24113979) Homepage

    You should do both. Face it. The reason the shake up is there in the first place is because someone in the food chain isn't making enough money and wants to change things around so that they make more.

    This likely will result in a possibility you come on to the new company... or not. Remember a lot depends on how much you are willing to accept as a reduction in pay which ultimately will happen at some point.

    In the event that they don't want to pay you what you believe your worth, they will go for the lesser costing options (other people), and you would ultimately be out looking elsewhere.

    Been there; done that.

    • Not necessarily (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:24AM (#24114199)

      "Remember a lot depends on how much you are willing to accept as a reduction in pay which ultimately will happen at some point."

      Not necessarily.
      Been through 2. First ended in a payoff and redundancy, the second resulted in more money as they realised how useful I can be when properly motivated :)

      • the second resulted in more money as they realised how useful I can be when properly motivated :)

        I wish my motivation realised how useful it can be when properly motivated, then I wouldn't need external factors to do the metamotivation :/

    • by ShannaraFan (533326) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:39AM (#24114621)

      "This likely will result in a possibility you come on to the new company... or not. Remember a lot depends on how much you are willing to accept as a reduction in pay which ultimately will happen at some point."

      I've been through two corporation acquisitions in the last 10 years. First time, I wound up making $5K more per year, as an incentive to stay, doing the same job. Second time, I was offered a different job in the new company, making $11K more per year. We've all heard the stories about people being forced to take pay cuts to keep their jobs, but I personally don't know a single person who has experienced that.

      The OP should ride this out, keeping a positive attitude and an open mind. Opportunities are born out of situations like this.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The reason the shake up is there in the first place is because someone in the food chain isn't making enough money and wants to change things around so that they make more.

      One: it depends on who's doing the figuring. Two folks, equally honest, can come up with two vastly different figures for a particular business unit. I has an issue like this once where one guy was attributing more of the company overhead to the unit than the other, so his "costs" were vastly greater.

      And when you outsource, the costs ar

  • we are becoming a separate nation, hell, world on the internet. by 'we' i mean all of us here.

    join it. be flexible. go with the flow. accept outsourcing yourself. if there are people outsourcing, there needs to be firms accepting outsourcing. go post a listing in elance - they post anything there these days, from technical writing to cad/cam. post in other agency sites. make a name for yourself.
  • by Onetus (23797) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:44AM (#24113995) Homepage

    Here's how it works when you get outsourced:
    1. You have your job and you do it.
    2. You/Your section get outsourced.
    3. You have your new job, which is the same as your old job, and .. you do it.

    If you weren't dusting off your CV/Resume at your current job, why would you suddenly do it now? You're going to get the same money for doing the same tasks that your currently doing. If nothing is broke, most likely no-one is going to try and "fix it". You're likely to see less change than if your bosses boss resigned and was replaced by someone new.

    Disclaimer: I worked in IT and my area was outsourced. After a little bit in the new company, I moved away from maint/support roles into development roles that just weren't available in my old company. YMMV

    • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:42AM (#24114299) Homepage

      You're going to get the same money for doing the same tasks that your currently doing.

      That might be true in some states, and it is certainly true in the UK where TUPE regulations protect employees' packages when transferring to a new company, but my impression from other discussions is that in general US workers don't enjoy many rights, and a pay cut or redundancy with little/no compensation and immediate hiring of someone cheaper could well be on the table.

      • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:50AM (#24114351)

        "UK where TUPE regulations protect employees' packages when transferring to a new company"

        I'm certainly glad my package is protected, otherwise new managers could be real ball-breakers :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by squoozer (730327)
        While TUPE does protect the employees rights to some extent it's not half as strong asmany people think it is. Having just been through it and seeing both sides it was quite clear to me that people could be shed for any number of reasons. Don't bank on TUPE saving your job long term.
      • I work in the US and I am glad we don't have anything like TUPE. Regulations like that prevent employers from creating jobs in the first place. My job security comes from my own skills and my ability to work well with others. Combine that with a vibrant tech sector that creates jobs and you've got job security without any well intentioned TUPE like laws. Why do you think Silicon Valley happened and persists in California? Because startups can create jobs from nothing and then shed them as needed. Empl
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jrumney (197329)
          If employers are thinking about the ability of a future purchaser of their business to screw over their employees when they make the decision to create a job, then they are probably not worth working for. But I'm sure your corporate overlords are grateful to you for drinking the kool-aid and accepting your 2 week vacation, unpaid overtime, at-will employment.
        • by VdG (633317)

          TUPE certainly serves to protect employees during outsourcing. But it also prevents the employer using outsourcing as a cheap way of cutting staff. Both of these seem like good things to me.

          TUPE doesn't mean that you get to keep your job: there's no requirement for the new company to take you on. If they don't want to, the original employer can either keep you, or get rid of you under their usual terms. What they can't do is pass you over to the new guys and let THEM sack you under worse terms.

          • by homer_s (799572)
            But it also prevents the employer using outsourcing as a cheap way of cutting staff. Both of these seem like good things to me.

            Why do you think that anyone has a right to "their" job?
            A job is just a commercial agreement between two parties. Would you advocate a similar law to 'protect' a hardware store so that a customer cannot just move to a newer store to buy cheaper widgets?

            I never understood why people think that a job is a special kind of contract that needs special laws.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:14AM (#24114495) Journal

      "If nothing is broke, most likely no-one is going to try and "fix it"," is a good principle, but obviously doesn't apply when the whole deal is aimed at fixing it. If nothing were broke, DHL wouldn't "fix it" by pawning off the whole department.

      Anyway, the fact is, DHL thinks it can save some money by passing these guys off to HP. Going by your scenario, it means that, basically we have two sums:

      X = how much DHL pays for these guys, managing them, computers, electricity, building rent, overhead, etc

      Y = how much DHL would pay HP for the same results

      Now DHL thinks X > Y, and HP must think that Y includes a profit margin for itself _and_ pay for whatever they bought that department for. (It's not signing this just to subsidize DHL.) It makes no sense for Y to be the exact same old X plus a positive profit. Basically for your scenario, you have simultaneously X > Y, Y = X + P _and_ P > 0. Something doesn't add up, according to the maths as I know it.

      One possibility that happens rather often, is that actually HP will end up fleecing DHL. I.e., that (maybe after a short time) actually Y > X. Quite a few companies found themselves at the bad end of that kind of a deal. (Though in the short term HP takes a small loss to sweeten the deal, the new CEO/beancounte/PHB can show some positive financial results in that quarter, and the shareholders cheer.)

      The other possibility is that HP _will_ reduce the costs somehow. Maybe they'll force everyone to do more projects in the same time, so it's not going to be really the same job for the same money. Maybe they'll phase some people out after a while and move some of those jobs to Elbonia. Or maybe after a while they figure out that they can't make that much money there, gut the department and keep just some maintenance or service contract with DHL. Or whatever.

      There _are_ a few such outsourcing or privatizing deals done just so someone else gets to fire those people, or ask them to take a pay cut.

      So basically indeed YMMV. I'm glad it worked out well for you. Sometimes it does. In some other places it doesn't work like that.

      • by superskippy (772852) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:21AM (#24114993)

        DHL doesn't necessarily think it can save some money. Y might be larger than X at the offset, but Y might be lower risk. That is to say, DHL might be able to negociate a fixed deal with HP, but if DHL employ staff themselves it might seem cheaper, but costs could be highly variable.

        E.g. suppose a load of your staff leave. Your faced with costs of hiring, and costs of getting expensive contractors in to fill in. X has rocketed here. HP will have to pick up the tab if that happens. Or suppose a project goes titsup. HP will end up paying to get it straight under the new scheme, not DHL.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tdp252 (519328)
      That isn't always the case. While your salary may remain the same, chances are if your new employer can do the same job for less you are loosing benefits. I worked for AT&T back in the 90's. When we were outsourced to IBM-GS we were giving crappy health care plans, and lost many of our other benefits. Don't believe the hype.
    • by RMH101 (636144)
      TUPE isn't all that long term. If an employer is outsourcing, chances are the outsourcing company that they're using wants to send a quantity of that work to an area of the world where labour costs are much lower: such as india. I've been through this a few times from both sides of the fence.

      Basically, the job market's not all that secure. In order to reduce your personal level of mither you want to take control of your level of risk: this means having your CV up to date, your skills current, and havin

  • No brainer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TeraCo (410407) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:45AM (#24114007) Homepage
    Join the new company, there's more opportunity for you being 'an IT guy in an IT company' than 'An IT guy in a widget company.'
    • by mh1997 (1065630)
      If the new company has someone with the same position/title as yours in the old company, start looking for a job.
      • by TeraCo (410407)

        No doubt HP has hundreds, if not -thousands- of people who have the same position as this guy. That's the point. He can work in his job for a few months and see what is available in the company. There's a lot more opportunity to move in the X thousand staff new department than his 5,10,X man department in his old company.

  • by feedayeen (1322473) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:46AM (#24114009)
    You could move to India, the land of opportunity.
    • Re:India or Bust! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sesticulus (544932) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:16AM (#24114509)

      Not so much anymore. I work for a big company who a few years ago did a lot of off shoring (not outsourcing, they were employees of the company) to India. We learned a few lessons, including that it's not really the bargain management expected. There's good, there's bad, but it's no free lunch. Now Romania is the new India. I expect the outcome to be the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OzPeter (195038)
      In episode 2 of the second season of "30 days", they tracked a US worker who did just this. They moved him over to India and had him go through the whole process of applying for a job and working for a call centre. It made or very interesting viewing.

      Here is a link to the episodes of season 2 of 30 days [tvshowsondvd.com]

  • Life doesn't offer you a great many opportunities. It does, however, throw a great deal of crap your way.

    If you see a chance to turn the crap into an opportunity, go for it.

  • by KillerCow (213458) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:48AM (#24114017)

    Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?"

    1) You should always have an up to date resume. Especially when there is some kind of "restructuring" going on.

    2) You can do both. Try on the new company. If you don't like it, you can always leave. You can even spin it to new employers as "I stayed on to ensure a smooth transition" to make you look like a team player. This is a great way to get into a new company without having to wade through the throngs of HR drones trying to screen you out of new-hire interviews.

    Jumping ship before the move is kinda dumb -- as long as they don't make you sign anything ridiculous. It could be a much better place. Why would you leave when you don't have a reason to? What would you leave for? An unknown new company? Then you are no better off then where you are right now.

    • by Kokuyo (549451)

      I agree. Put your CV out there. If nothing else, you'll at least get a feeling for what you're worth in the economy. If you like the new company, great, your problems end there. If not, you've already got a head start.

    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:45AM (#24114311)

      1) You should always have an up to date resume. Especially when there is some kind of "restructuring" going on.

      2) You can do both. Try on the new company. If you don't like it, you can always leave. You can even spin it to new employers as "I stayed on to ensure a smooth transition" to make you look like a team player. This is a great way to get into a new company without having to wade through the throngs of HR drones trying to screen you out of new-hire interviews.

      3) I collect job adverts from newspapers. I know this sounds dumb, who uses newspaper adverts to find personnel these days? well some employers do and I find it is useful to do this. Even if it is only to find out who in my locality is doing .Net, Java C/C++, Web development, App development, Embedded etc.... I also like to keep regular track of what is on offer at online job centers/forums even if I am not in danger of being laid off or thinking about moving, for much the same purpose. At the very least it results in me being able to target my job search more accurately.

      Jumping ship before the move is kinda dumb -- as long as they don't make you sign anything ridiculous. It could be a much better place. Why would you leave when you don't have a reason to? What would you leave for? An unknown new company? Then you are no better off then where you are right now.

      In my experience when a merger or a wholesale outsourcing happens, the PHBs/corporate-weasels running the transition will either lay off the entire complement of people employed by the 'victim' or they will pick and choose. They will keep the best employees from either side and lay off a whole bunch of others. Few things get a PHB more brownie points than saving personnel/wage costs for the company. The employees that will qualify for the great "...opportunities HP has internally..." are the best and most experienced ones except maybe if this happens during an economic boom period, then you may have a better chance if you are young and less experienced. If there is one thing new arrivals on the job market should learn quickly is that companies will demand loyalty and hard work from you but reserve the right to drop you from the payroll the instant it takes their fancy do pep up their quarterly profit returns by reducing costs. Get used to being stabbed in the back a lot, recover quickly and be prepared to find a new job even before it happens. Choosing carefully what jobs you take is important not only because of the wages you will get but also because of the experience you will get. They pay may be good but can you market that experience easily next time you are looking for a job? I know a few people who fell into the trap of considering only the money.

      Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

  • by technormality (1086527) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:50AM (#24114025)
    Outsourcing is always done for one thing and one thing only. To save money. What this means is that those who get outsourced are expected to do the same work or more work for less cost. It wont be apparent immediately, often you move over to your new organization with your salary and most of your benefits intact. What happens over time is salary increases and bonuses become smaller than they would have been had you not been outsourced. Also your new employer may not backfill workers who retire or quit. Other places they start to pinch would be training and travel budgets, maybe even redo your 401k contributions to give you less, etc. Over time they will reduce costs one way or another. Hard to give advice on this since its a very personal decision. How confident are you that you can move to another job? Do you like your current job and coworkers? You need to factor these things in when deciding to move over or find a new employer. You may want to ask if you would be entitled to a severance package if you decline to move. If severance is a sizable chunk of money its another component to factor in. Best of luck!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PhilHibbs (4537)

      I work for a company which, among other things, does outsourcing of IT projects. I didn't come in on an outsourcing deal myself, and I joined the project side of the company rather than the outsourcing side, but the people that I've worked with who were "outsourced in" from clients have been more than happy with their decisions. Essentially, it's cheaper for an IT company to run a dozen IT departments than it is for a dozen separate widgets companies to run their own IT department. Sure, someone might get c

      • by Jellybob (597204)

        Essentially, it's cheaper for an IT company to run a dozen IT departments than it is for a dozen separate widgets companies to run their own IT department.

        I think you've got to the meat of the issue here. In all likelihood the OP is going to end up not only working for DHL, but for several other company's IT departments as well.

        Personally I think that's a really good thing. You get experience of how other company's are setup, and potentially get to play with things that you wouldn't have otherwise.

        There's a

    • by tgd (2822)

      No, outsourcing to a new staff is done to save money. Selling an entire department to a new company to manage while continuing to do the same job they've done all along is done for many reasons, costs rarely being one of the primary ones. Expense predictability, project management skills, increased accessibility to deeper support services, etc, are all MUCH bigger reasons to take an existing staff and shift their paycheck to another organization.

    • Outsourcing is always done for one thing and one thing only. To save money.

      Not true. It's done (if you're doing it correctly) to improve the performance of the business, which is subtly different. I have worked for Accenture, who is on the receiving end of outsourcing, and currently work for a company who is outsourcing functions to Accenture, while receiving outsourced business functions from other companies. I've been and currently am on both sides of this.

      Companies can end up ahead after outsourcing

  • by sthomas (132075) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:51AM (#24114029)

    I've been on one side or the other of 35 acquisitions. My experience is that the only people absolutely guaranteed of a job when it's all done are those who are have a written retention offer as an incentive to keep them in place and not bail prior to the merger closing. Many people will keep their jobs, some will lose them, and no one other than the aforementioned can be certain of either.

    If you are uncomfortable with the uncertainty around your continued employment, then there are two options: live with that stress and all of the potential negatives and positives continued employment or sudden termination bring -OR- take your fate into your own hands and go in search of employment elsewhere ahead of time and on your own terms. No one can really tell you which is better, as you have to determine what your threshold for uncertainty and stress is.

    I have known many people who have done both, and have had it work out better or worse for them. Some can handle the stress of uncertainty, some really can't. For those latter ones, taking the initiative to determine their own fate was far better for them health-wise. I have always stayed on through the acquisitions, and it has always worked out well for me personally.

    One last word of advice I have for everyone I have ever worked with, for, or over: always keep your resume up to date! Don't wait until you are in fear of your job or suddenly terminated to get it out and "dust it off." Changing jobs is stressful, and this is one thing you can do in happier times to help see yourself through the rough ones. Also, it's great to update it with accomplishments when they are fresh in your mind.

    I always encourage my employees and peers to get out their resumes and update them no less than yearly, but ideally as often as quarterly. At the successful completion of any large project, I let my teams know "that is resume-worthy, and these are the points you should include" and list the things I think they should be proud of accomplishing.

    Don't let your resume get stale, or when you're out of a job it's one more roadblock to getting yourself back in the saddle.

    Good luck with the acquisition, whatever you choose to do!

    • by BVis (267028)

      If you are uncomfortable with the uncertainty around your continued employment, then there are two options: live with that stress and all of the potential negatives and positives continued employment or sudden termination bring -OR- take your fate into your own hands and go in search of employment elsewhere ahead of time and on your own terms. No one can really tell you which is better, as you have to determine what your threshold for uncertainty and stress is.

      The first choice is a non-starter. With employ

  • by DCFC (933633) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:54AM (#24114055)

    Although many factors are beyond your control, you can give the impression that you are really positive about the whole thing. Cooperate enthusiastically about the whole process. You can't stop it, or even slow it down, your goal should be to ensure that management think you are "part of the team" and "have the right attitude".
    You need to do wholly BS stuff like ask those controlling this mess if there is some way you can help.
    As a techie turned CIO turned headhunter I laugh openly at the "great opportunities" at HP or any outsourcer. My former colleague at PC Magazine Guy Kewney refers to these as "Industry Standard Lies".
    They have as much credibility as the many fine offers I get in emails from Nigeria and China for wealth and health.
    But you must not share my laughter.
    You must sound impressed with these fake offers, maybe even apply for some. This is best done as innocent questions, like asking the new management about them, and how you could apply. They will be selling them to you, so we now have both of you faking it to each other. That will look good when they decide who to dump.
    You may wonder if they will be taken in by this fake enthusiasm. The odds are better than you think, unless you have already met some HP managers, and then been amazed that people like this are allowed to be in charge of anything.
    They're not exactly very bright are they ?
    You will want to leave of course. Anyone who has seen outsourcing knows that the good people will want to walk.
    But in any market, you want to be the one who decides when you leave. Buy some time and maybe the horse will learn to sing.

    • For anyone going through a merger, or really anything that involves a new CEO or significant part of upper management (new CEO will mean lots of new upper management), this is exactly right. Don't let the awful formatting fool you, this post is a map telling you exactly how to survive.

      It's especially bad if you're in a critical position. The instant you think they're going to fire you, you'd better go, because if they think you're going to go they have to get a replacement, and then what do they need you fo

  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:57AM (#24114069) Journal

    I.e, don't be just a programmer; learn server management too (if nothing else, you should know how servers work to help you be a better programmer), and get involved in areas outside your job scope as much as possible. That way they can't containerise you easily and therefore know fully the impact of you not being there any more. Not to mention it's more interesting to have a broader skill-set.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Dumb advice.

      They will look at how you're performing your primary job. All that other stuff you do, they probably won't even know about, and if they do they won't care. If you're doing all that other stuff, you're not doing your primary job as well as you could, and probably not as well as it should be done even as a baseline.

      When they fire people there will be lots of slack to pick up. Wait for that. Pick it up very visibly and you might get promoted.

      I've been through three of these things, and the story is

      • They will look at how you're performing your primary job. All that other stuff you do, they probably won't even know about, and if they do they won't care.

        Actually, my point is more to volunteer for tasks outside your primary job-scope. Employers like flexibility, and the cross over is very relevant. For example: You're an asp.net programmer - learning the intricacies of IIS admin through some kind of additional SCM role will benefit your coding skills, broaden your skill-set in general AND dig your claws i

      • by ckaminski (82854)
        See I've been that guy, the jack of all trades, who picked up the slack when needed and did more than just my "core job." If you're getting your primary responsibilities and tasks and projects done, there's no reason why you can't be "that guy" helping out wherever possible. More people know you, sing your praises, and spread word about your skills to others, including to their superiors.

        Then again, I've only done this in companies smaller than 2000 people, you YMMV.

        Then again, it has burned me when two p
  • Don't panic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cerberusss (660701) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:01AM (#24114075) Homepage Journal

    A comparable thing happened to my wife. When she told me, I started mirroring her fears and it turns out that wasn't a good idea. I gave her the advice to look around. That was just one possible advice, fueled by anxiety. She basically had to solicit for her own position. We did so, but actually aimed higher. Turns out in the new situation she's much better off.

    Now I'm not saying that's going to happen here. First, take the FUD out of your head and put it besides you on the couch. Then, ask around. It's better to find out more from your manager and HR if possible. In the new situation, what kind of jobs are availailable. For young people there are often opportunities here. Keep all options open, but shop around internally as well.

  • I am employed by HP through an acquisition and wish I had started looking for a new job instead of waiting to see what the new organization had in store for me. The reality of the situation for me was that it took so long to complete the acquisition that our team was effectively in limbo for almost a year. Those of us that did weather the long painful integration jumped through tons of hoops just so we could get back to some sort of daily routine. As someone in a customer service role, I could see how th
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know who you are, now stop posting to Slashdot and fix my printer. No wonder you're being outsourced =P
  • Enjoy (Score:4, Informative)

    by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:12AM (#24114135)

    Just to be sure: Your company/department is being bought by HP, right? I don't how HP works at all, but it is my impression that they aren't all that bad; though, there was a rough patch some years back.

    Some 5 years ago I was in a small, but successful company that was bought by Informatica - I'm still here, in case you wonder. I think for the first year or so we all hated it; we really felt like we were pariahs - part of that was our fault; we we resented the whole thing, for a large part because nobody asked our opinion, and I think we all felt rather betrayed. Since then we have worked out our differences, but it didn't happens automatically - management, from the very top, understood that there was a serious problem, and they have consistently tried to do all the right things and address the real problems (as opposed to just trying to look good).

    It is very important to feel welcome in a new company, and to feel that you and the way you do things enjoy respect and are valuable. In the beginning I would have left, given half a chance; now I would be very reluctant to change job.

    It is very important that feel confident in yourself if you stay in your new company - they have bought you guys because they believe in your product, but also because they believe in you guys. Where the problems can come in is when the lower to middle managers aren't willing to give an inch; they have more direct influence over your daily lives than upper management.

  • It all depends on how much you depend on this one job. You say that's your first job after university, I assume you're quite young and I hope you don't have too many mouths to feed.

    Try to be open and give the outsourcer a chance. Sometimes new avenues open up and you can move into directions you didn't expect before.

    Start looking for a new job. The outsourcing is a change, and while you're changing, you might change to something better, if it presents itself. That makes the outsourcer compete with the regul

  • One of the worst mistakes that people make when changing jobs is underestimating the need for a "plan B."
    • by smoker2 (750216)
      I don't agree.
      There is only Plan A - make enough money to continue to live. If you get that right, then you can make choices. There is no point in changing jobs with the sure knowledge that you don't want to work there really. Unless there is a financial advantage, but why then would it be short term. Change jobs, make money, get on with life. If another opportunity comes up, weigh it up and proceed. No need to have several moves planned out in advance. If you are trying to get to a certain point, then it m
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Even as you hear of opportunities in HP keep in mind that they too are constantly restructuring. One of their support centers in Colorado is moving to New Mexico and the current workers have essentially been told "move or find a new job" (and since they aren't being laid off there's "no package").

    Also keep in mind that the Ann Livermore (Executive VP, Technology Solutions Group) has openly stated that her job is to outsource (in most cases this means offshore) as many of hp's jobs as quickly as possible. Th

  • If you think the end is nigh, it often pays more to be pushed than jump. I'd cling on and see if I could land a redundancy payment.
    • by OSXCPA (805476)

      If the orig. poster is straight from school, in the US s/he is unlikely to get a decent severance package - my experience is 1 weeks pay for every year with the firm, with no one getting less than 2 weeks, maybe a month. Maybe different elsewhere, but I've seen this dance at three employers, and for newer employees, there is seldom a good incentive to stay. Can't hurt to ask, though.

      • by Erwos (553607)

        I work for AOL-TWX, and the folks who bought it last time got significantly more generous severance packages than that during the lay-offs, like "4 months paid". Clearly, there's no iron-clad rule. I'd stick around.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:49AM (#24114345)

    One reason to outsource people for large companies here is to circumvent work councils. Many large companies here have pretty good social plans for their workers, good pension plans, good health plans, and a key incentive to move your workforce into some subsidiary is to cut those costs.

    So read your new contract very, very carefully. Just because something was a given in your old contract doesn't mean it will be in your new contract. If it's not there, consider it gone. This can include things like a cafeteria that was free for the workers (i.e. part of the social plan) suddenly charging you for your meal.

  • by lousyd (459028) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:50AM (#24114347)
    Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?"

    Dust off the resume! *Always* dust off the resume. Keep that baby dusted even when you're happy and foresee no imminent change. I'd ride the wave for now. You'll know when the time is right. But keep the resume dusted.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Keep that baby dusted

      I believe I'll dust my broom.

      (Note to mods: this is probably a little obscure, but I'm sure it applies to many a lonely /.er with the #0000FFs.)

  • by OSXCPA (805476) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:52AM (#24114375) Journal

    Happened to me. I learned that if you are not considered a 'revenue center' you will likely be the first to go - IT Departments, internal audit, accounting are all 'cost centers', and since businesses live to minimize costs...

    Given what you do, moving to HP or one of their ilk (Accenture, etc.) will make you such a revenue center, and thus less likely to be laid off. In those environments (where I currently work) if you do good work and have a good senior manager (director level, selling work to clients) you will remain chargeable, and therefore, employed. It can work out well. One thing I do recommend, though, to someone straight from University - don't fall in love with your job, because it won't love you back, and it may break your heart. Good luck!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ArminK (317771)

      Same here.

      Our IT department was outsourced to HP several years ago. At the time I was glad I was not in the IT department, although I work mostly with IT things.

      In the meanwhile my view has changed completely:
      - the people who were outsourced have safe jobs at HP. Some changed to better jobs inside HP, others are still doing the same job.
      - My own company has started moving everything offshore and laying off more and more people. No chance of any career or promotion any more.
      - The people who stayed are now f

  • One thing I wouldn't suggest is to leave now -- you can always quit after the shakeup if it doesn't work out for you, but even if there are layoffs and your job looks shaky, stick around until after they've happened; they may keep you on after all, and even if they don't, there ought to be a payout for making you redundant.

    You should definitely make sure you CV/resume is up to date, though -- if the worst happens, you'll need to get it out there quickly.

    A friend of mine was made redundant in a shakeup like

  • Although I've never been 'outsourced' myself I have worked at an outsourcing company alongside many people who had. This wasn't HP so I don't know what they're like but my experience is that it is, in general, a fairly positive experience.

    You may not end up doing exactly what you were doing before, or in exactly the same way which might be an issue for you but on the other hand you ought to have a lot more opportunities to get involved in different things which may not have been available to you before.

    One

  • Your CV should always be up to date. Always. No exceptions. That said, outsourcing can be lucrative for the employees. Often you'll get a bump in pay or a retainer bonus. Replacing a mass exodus immediately after an outsourcing deal is highly problematic and most companies will do all they can to keep staff and convert them.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am going through this exact thing - our small company was recently acquired by a much larger company (and our previous #1 competitor to boot!), and I am seeing myself in both the original question and all of the comments. The fear of the unknown, the apprehension, the prospects of putting my resume back out there....they're all there.

    I, too, felt disillusioned in the system, frustrated with the powers-that-be, and distrustful of the whole thing. My initial thoughts w
  • As a manager I can tell you the list of employees that will have "protection" has already been made by management opinion. No use trying to change yourself now.

    I would suggest updating the CV, but stay on, and keep a positive attitude about the shift in culture.

    1) If you're getting downsized, they owe you severance. If you leave, you don't get it. After 8 years, it might be worth it.

    2) People who are negative usually go first. Look at the positives, do some preliminary work researching the ne
  • Outsourcing is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

    The expectations are not going to be lower, so outsourcing just means there is another set of mouths to feed in the corporate food chain between your work and the company's income. In my experience, from a worker's point of view, there is very, very little good that can come of it: if you were a cost before, you will still be a cost. The CIO is trying to avoid actually being accountable for anything or the company is playing games with

  • by saigon_from_europe (741782) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:26AM (#24114563)

    It seems that I am on the other side of the story (dark side?) since I actually work in an outsourcing company. I work in Serbia, and we provide some programming for one company in USA.

    It may be that we are not a typical example, but in our case there are about 60 employees in USA and 20 here in Serbia.

    Complete R&D, marketing, and all top-jobs in IT are done in USA. Here in Serbia we do very basic tasks only.

    In our particular case, we are not doing the job very well. Successful outsourcing requires very good communication channels. Due to geographical difference and esp. if there is time zone difference (like USA - India) communication must be perfect. This is very hard to achieve. That would require trained people in USA to write good specs, to know how to handle tasks and everything. For a beginning, just to know what they want as a product. In practice, that would mean that good managers will do some good work and bad managers will do some bad work, just as if there was no outsourcing. Outsourcing will just make existing communication problems bigger.

    In our particular case, since we work in extremely regulated industry, things are even harder. Everything in the process has to be double-checked, documented and so on. In theory, this makes things more easy to outsource, but in practice, as major job has to be done in USA, outsourcing does not seem too beneficial. In our case, only thing you can outsource are junior jobs. But they have problems figuring this, and they try over and over to send us any tasks they find "labor intensive". This won't work. Outsourcing company is not a cavalry you call when you are in trouble. If you want to treat it like a cheap labor for boring tasks, you'll be in a huge problem.

    As a complete surprise to a geniuses who believe that outsourcing is a solution for poor business practices, people that work in outsourcing companies are human, too. When treated as junk, they treat their employers as junk, so they tend to leave for small increases in salaries, since their job satisfaction is low and salary in only measure. Even more surprisingly, if treated as humans, outsources tend to behave just every normal employee. They learn about their jobs, they are ready to spend some time there when salaries are not the highest in the city and so on.

    It's a bit different story when large company, like HP decides to outsource entire department. I don't see how this could be efficient. It's not a problem to replace junior John Doe with Asok in Delhi, but if you need to replace every trained team-leader, every mid-manager with the Indian counter-part, it seems to me like a recipe for disaster.

  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:30AM (#24114587) Homepage
    It starts the downward spiral in efficiency since there will be a lot more overhead in the process of doing IT support.

    An IT person that's roaming the corridors and works inhouse can always stop by and fix things on the fly while an outsourced IT person always has to get the issue through the issue tracking system in order to motivate the salary. This means that it can add hours upon hours of delay before an issue is resolved.

    • by DMoylan (65079)

      and when you piss them of by out sourcing then sometimes they may seek revenge.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/01/outsourcing_porn/ [theregister.co.uk]

    • Not necessarily; usually the whole IT department isn't outsourced, just specific functions, so you still have your basic maintenance dudes.

      The real problem is with long term systems changes. The sort of stuff you can make your salaried guys do on top of their regular work, requires you to contract specific services with an outsourcing company. That can cost a ton.

      You also lose internal R you can test stuff out, see if it's worth deploying, see if its going to be cost effective. When you're outsourced, you g

  • If your company is being bought you should generally leave, or at least prepare to. I'm yet to see happy developers that stayed with a company that got bought out. If your company is the one buying the other then you get to raid the other company's resources (people, servers, software, etc) keeping what you want and getting rid of the rest. Much better to be on this end than the other.
    • I can immediately think of two counter examples. My own company was purchased 18 months ago, and I couldn't be happier. I played golf this weekend with a guy from Aquantive, purchased by MSFT a year ago, and he was also quite satisfied.

  • Tag this story "dpwned".

  • Opportunity knocks (Score:2, Informative)

    by ShannaraFan (533326)

    Opportunities are born out of times like this - ride it out, keep a positive attitude and an open mind, look for new people to hook up with, expand your network to include people in the "new" company. You very likely will find yourself presented with a chance to do something new, without having to leave the company.

  • by pla (258480)
    Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?"

    You should do both - Start looking for a new job ASAP, but don't burn any bridges. In six months to a year, when they come to greatly regret the decision to outsource, as someone who already knows your job, you'll find yourself in a position to demand just about anything to come back.
  • You will have the right to apply for other jobs within your new employer.

    Obviously it depends on what the regulations are in your particular country, but here you become a fully fledged employee of the new company. That gives you the seniority you transferred from your old job (status, number of years employed, rights etc.) and it also gives you the right to apply for internal vacancies with the same status as anyone else within the new parent company.

    Don't feel therefore that you have to continue doing y

  • None of the above (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:19AM (#24114965) Homepage

    Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?

    I don't like either of those options. Back in my day job days this kind of thing would go on all the time. Outsource rumors and buy outs in private industry, contract changes in military contracting. Either way you're still an employee subject to the whims and petty rules of your employer.

    Another option is thinking about banking some cash and starting your own gig. It's harder work and pays less but ultimately you'll be happier. You have to learn about things like quarterly taxes and professional liability insurance, business licenses and what advertising works and what doesn't. The nice thing about tech is you don't need expensive offices or a lot of overhead to get going. You will need enough cash to survive until you have money coming in, which takes longer than you think.

    Most people have ideas about what it takes to start a business and those ideas are almost universally wrong. You may not get fabulously wealthy but with hard work and miserly habits you can make ends meet. I was doing okay and it eventually led to a job that is, essentially, layoff proof. And I get an equity position if the company gets bought out. Plus I'm in the envious position of being the person with the whims who makes up the petty rules. Life is a lot better being on that side of the equation.

    Having your own gig gives you the leverage to take a pass on the crapass, dead end, corporate cubicle jobs. You'll be happier in the long run. What seems strange to me are people who will argue for the financial security of a day job. Talk about a false sense of security. You can work in the same place 20 years and get fired the next day and won't get squat.

  • "Should I 'ride the wave' and join the new company and culture, or dust off the old CV/resume?"

    Do Both. There's a chance to get into HP as an employee, but buyouts rarely go well for the employees of the purchased business. I hate sounding like a pessimist, but I like being prepared for all possibilities.

    Looking at the ugliest scenario, consider that HP already has considerable IT resources. Are you bringing skills and talents to the table that would be of extra value to HP? Or would your skill set be red

  • Like many have recommended you should keep all options open. Maintain an updated resume. You never know when someone will mention they are looking to hire. And don't get drawn into the company line about people being their number one asset or any such bullshit. People are one of the first things a company will jettison if they think it will help the bottom line. The days of cradle to grave at a company are long gone. Employment is pretty much at will everywhere.

    The one thing to keep in mind is tha
  • While not exactly comparable since I work in academia, I went through a period recently where the college I worked at was going through a reorganization. This was telegraphed well in advance, and I instantly put out the resume to as many places as I could find. The problem? I'm specialized (instructional technology) enough that finding a comparable job within geographical constraints (basically, close enough to drive to our families) was tough- there were exactly *2* jobs I actually wanted in the 3 month
  • You seem to be in that middle ground where there's a big move afoot, and the company isn't saying that there's going to be X and Y happen, and this is how many people we'll be cutting. Without -knowing- that something drastic is going to happen up-front, everyone's going to be telling anyone who will listen that everything will be great for everyone involved. That just can't be true. (I'm sorry, but it can't.) I think the problem is that these sorts of deals are VERY difficult to evaluate, and the results o

  • So basically they're out-outsourcing the call center operations to eastern Europe and IT operations to the US and Malaysia ..

    "Deutsche Post World Net expects to save at least 1 billion euros over the next seven years by driving down overall IT costs"

    The only way of doing that is having half the people doing twice the work for three times the return. If it runs like any other IT place I've ever worked for, expect a huge turn over in staff, burn out in ten months, unless you learned to talk management s
  • "I moved into my current position fresh out of university and .. I enjoy my work and the opportunities that go with it"

    You really enjoy being chained to a desk and having to ask permission to take a leak? Like, the only reason they hire fresh out of Uni is you're the only people that will put up with the such BS.

    Don't delude yourself about the opportunities. Have you noticed that no one in top management has any real experience of IT. They're all hired in from outside. The only opportunities you are g
  • 1. Like others have said, get your resume in shape. Always have your resume in shape. Look for things involved in the transition that might improve your resume.

    2. Look at things carefully in the new company. The salary might be the same, but they can stick you on benefits. It is your total salary that might not stay the same. They wrote special into our contracts because some people would lose some vacation time if they didn't. Plus we had to sell back our banked vacation. That is a plus/minus deal

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ratsalbnoiro}> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:47PM (#24128709) Homepage Journal

    Study business management or some other field of work. The trend to outsource computer jobs will never stop. Find something else to do for a living.

    Either that or learn a foreign language so you can travel to foreign nations to train the new employees how to do computer work. Invest in a Rosetta Stone CD.

    You also could start up your own small business and try to run your own company. I would suggest small business courses at a community college while on unemployment to learn and talking to the SBA as well. You might be able to win some short term contracts and do computer work from home and be able to pay yourself with some money left over to hire more people. Also look into IT moonlighting web sites for small project work.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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